Rachel, 17 – FUNDED

What is your professional dream?

My dream is to start my own fashion company.

How will you use the 1,000 Dreams Scholarship?

I will use the 1,000 Dreams Scholarship to help pay the cost of my college tuition. During my sophomore year of high school, I received mail from Drexel University. With one glance at the yellow envelope with the dragon logo on it, I immediately knew that it was the college I would attend. I told myself that I would attend Drexel as a Design & Merchandising major, get into the Pennoni Honors College and room on the 17th floor of Millennium Hall where I could get the most beautiful skyline view of Philadelphia. Throughout high school, I kept that specific goal in mind and worked hard. However, I knew that money held me back, especially with Drexel being my most expensive school, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me.

The 1,000 Dreams Fund’s scholarship made it possible for me to achieve my goal. This fall, I will be attending Drexel as a Design & Merchandising major, as a student of the Pennoni Honors College and my room is also on the 17th floor of Millennium Hall, just like I dreamed of two years ago. I am so grateful to the 1,000 Dreams Fund for contributing to my education.

How is this helping you get closer to your dreams?

I aim to offer stylish, comfortable clothing for women of all sizes, ages and colors. As a child, I was ashamed of my curvy legs. I dreamed of being tall with long, lean legs. I didn’t have any body-positive role models growing up until I discovered Demi Lovato when I was ten. She had the exact same body type as I did and I think she is so beautiful, on the inside as well as the outside. I want every woman to have the same confidence that Demi inspired me to have. I hope to partner my company with organizations that deal with poverty relief, women’s rights and providing quality education and health care to girls. I believe in the empowerment and strength of women and want to help show the world what women can do!

What advice do you have for other young women looking to go for their dreams?

Never underestimate your worth and what you deserve. If you work hard every single day and believe in yourself and have a positive mindset, you can achieve anything you want. Nothing is impossible. Another important reminder is to not let what others think affect you. In the end, you only get to live one life and it should be a happy, healthy and fulfilling one. Also, it’s okay to fail. You just have to bounce back as a stronger and fiercer woman.

Any setbacks? How did you get around them?

I come from an immigrant family that has dealt with many financial problems because my parents never finished college. We suffered even more when my parents divorced, but it is also a blessing in disguise. I knew how much my mom suffered with financial troubles, so I devoted my senior year to applying for as many scholarships as possible and working overtime at my job to lessen her burden. I ended up receiving enough to cover the cost of my freshman year of college. Strength and perseverance as well as having a driven mindset helped me throughout my journey. I always tell myself that the worst things can happen to you, but it’s all about how you react to those situations and choose your future from there.

What’s next for you?
I’ll be going to Drexel University in the fall and I’m so excited to attend school in a huge, diverse city and meet so many new friends. My next goal is to save up for a trip to Paris. I have dreamed about going there ever since I was little and I know it costs a lot of money, but I’ve never let financial problems stop me from accomplishing my dreams!